Week 4 Top Teams Thoughts & Notes - Part 2
The quick thoughts and looks at all the top teams after Week 4
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Week 4 Top Team Notes & Thoughts
Ohio State (4-0)
Last week: Beat UAB 29-15
Notes: Is Ohio State improving? UAB has no offense and the defense has been abysmal all season long, but the Buckeyes didn’t play well and needed to work way too hard to put the game away. They have to play much, much better to have a shot at Michigan State next week. … Jordan Hall provided some help for Braxton Miller, running for 105 yards on 17 carries, but it was still Miller’s offense. He didn’t come up with the one or two deep plays he’s been able to pull off early on, but he didn’t make any big mistakes and ran for 64 yards and two scores. … Outside of a blocked punt, it was a relatively clean game with no turnovers. … Ryan Shazier led the team with 13 tackles, but it was Etienne Sabino who starred making 11 tackles with two broken up passes and a forced fumble.
Last week: Beat Virginia 27-7
Notes: At some point the Horned Frog offense has to get even more. The 438 yards weren’t bad against Virginia, but in Big 12 play the team will be in for more firefights. … The defense was stellar against the Cavaliers with four takeaways while only allowing a late touchdown. … The O will be fine. Casey Pachall completed 21-of-32 passes for 305 yards and two scores, while Brandon Carter made a brilliant grab as part of a five-catch, 128-yard, one touchdown day. … Kenny Cain made four tackles with a fumble recovery and two picks.
Last week: Lost to Notre Dame 13-6
Notes: Why is offensive coordinator Al Borges trying to make Denard Robinson a pocket passer? There were plenty of chances for Robinson to take off against Notre Dame, but he didn’t. … Robinson had an awful game with four picks and just 138 yards through the air, but he didn’t get much help from his receivers. His targets didn’t come up with any big plays to bail out their struggling passer. … Michigan outgained Notre Dame, but the turnovers were too much to overcome. … The defense did its job, but the pass rush has to be far better with just six sacks in four games. … After having so many problems against Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl and struggling against Alabama in the opener and against the Irish, Robinson has to quickly get back to form with Big Ten play starting at Purdue.
Last week: Lost to Oregon State 27-20
Notes: Johnathan Franklin was held to just 45 yards on 12 carries, but Brett Hundley kept improving with 372 passing yards and a score to go along with 32 rushing yards and a touchdown. However, the Bruins only converted 2-of-15 third down chances. … Where did the secondary go? Oregon State’s Sean Mannion was able to bomb away at will. Even with the Bruin pass rush applying pressure, with Anthony Barr coming up with two of the team’s three sacks, the pass defense still had problems. … Punter Jeff Locke had a whale of a game averaging 44 yards per boot and putting four of his eight kicks inside the 20. … This was supposed to be a winnable home game, but if the Bruin offense that leads the Pac-12 can keep on cranking out yards, there’s a chance that the stretch of three road games in the next four might not be so bad. There isn’t a game left on the slate the Bruins can’t win.
Last week: Beat Florida International 28-21
Notes: After a rocky performance in the win over North Carolina – holding on for dear life late after getting out to a big lead – this wasn’t the game the Cardinals were looking for. The offense was stuffed by FIU running for just 129 yards and two scores, and Teddy Bridgewater had his worst game of the season completing 19-of-36 passes for 194 yards and two scores with two picks. … The defense hasn’t found a pass rush all year, and it was a problem this week. There aren’t any great passing games coming up on the schedule for a while, possibly until Syracuse on November 10th. The Cardinals need to put together a complete effort against a bad Southern Miss team next week.
Michigan State (3-1)
Last week: Beat Eastern Michigan 23-7
Notes: Eastern Michigan is one of the nation’s worst teams, and Michigan State needed to work way too hard to come up with the win. There was never any real threat of losing to the lowly Eagles, but it took more than a half to wake up. … After the offensive disaster against Notre Dame, this wasn’t the game the offense needed. The passing game isn’t efficient or effective and the O is relying way too much on Le’Veon Bell to carry the way. He shouldn’t have needed to carry the ball 36 times for 253 yards to put this away. … The pass rush continues to be anemic, but the run defense has been fantastic. Max Bullough is playing as well as any linebacker in the Big Ten.
Last week: Lost to Oregon 49-0
Notes: There’s no shame in losing to the Ducks in Autzen Stadium, but the Wildcats are going to be kicking themselves after missing some key chances early. The game didn’t get out of hand until the fourth quarter, and Arizona would’ve been right in the game had they not stumbled with misfires in the red zone. … There was no way the Cats were going to have a chance to keep this close after turning it over five times. … Considering the final score, the defense wasn’t awful keeping the big plays to a minimum. Safety Tra'Mayne Bondurant made ten tackles with three tackles for loss. … How quickly can the team rebound? Oregon State is hot and going to Stanford won’t be easy. The nice start will quickly fade if the team doesn’t play much sharper over the next few weeks.
Mississippi State (4-0)
Last week: Beat South Alabama 30-10
Notes: It took a quarter to wake up, but once the Bulldogs did, they turned it on with 20 points in the third quarter. LaDarius Perkins was the catalyst with a 44-yard scoring dash. … Davon Bell came up with two 42 yard field goals late in the first half including one as time ran out. He added a 31-yarder in the fourth. … The running game never really got going. Outside of Perkins’ big run, the Bulldogs didn’t have much room to move finishing with just 156 yards. … Quarterback Tyler Russell needs to be sharper at this point in the year, completing just 13-of-27 passes for 171 yards with a pick. … Free safety Nickoe Whitley made seven tackles with a pick taken for 66 yards. … MSU hasn’t been great, but it’s 4-0 with Kentucky up next before getting Tennessee and Middle Tennessee at home.
Boise State (2-1)
Last week: Beat BYU 7-6
Notes: Yes, Boise State won, but yeeeeesh. D.J. Harper ran well with 112 yards on a workmanlike 31 carries, and Joe Southwick wasn’t awful completing 15-of-25 passes for 145 yards, but the offense couldn’t come up with any consistent drives and didn’t score. … J.C. Percy was the man, making 12 tackles with a tackle for loss, and corner Jamar Taylor had a big day with seven tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a pick, but when a pick six from a nose tackle – Mike Atkinson – is the only score there are big problems. … There’s nothing crisp about the attack. The passing game isn’t decisive and there are too many mistakes for a team this well coached. 2-1 isn’t bad considering the problems, but playing like this there’s no way the Broncos beat Fresno State or Nevada. Even so, there’s a chance this might be the toughest game left on the slate.
Last week: Beat Idaho State 73-7
Notes: There wasn’t any question Nebraska was going to blow out the Bengals, but it was a big game to get Rex Burkhead back into the swing of things before the Big Ten opener against Wisconsin. Back from his knee injury, he ran for 119 yards and two scores on just eight carries. … Taylor Martinez continued to throw well completing 9-of-13 passes for 165 yards and two scores. … The pass rush has been far more aggressive this season. With 7.5 sacks the D pressed a bit more this week and should be able to get to Wisconsin’s Joel Stave on a regular basis next week.
Oregon State (2-0)
Last week: Beat UCLA 27-20
Notes: Considering all the problems last year, going 2-0 with wins over UCLA and Wisconsin is a fantastic start. … Is this the week Sean Mannion has come into his own as the star of the offense? He wasn’t bad at helping come up with a few key plays to beat the Badgers, but he showed against the Bruins he could produce in a shootout throwing for 379 yards and two scores. Markus Wheaton caught nine passes for 150 yards and a score, and Brandin Crooks came up with six gabs for 175 yards and a touchdown. … The Beavers faced Wisconsin’s Montee Ball two weeks ago and now Johnathan Franklin, who led the nation in rushing coming into the game, and they’re No. 2 in the nation against the run with Arizona up next.
Last Week: Beat ULM 47-42
Notes: The defense is never going to be anything special and it’s going to get toasted by most decent passing games, but he held up well against the red-hot Kolton Browning and the ULM passing game until late allowing 298 yards on the night. … Nick Florence continues to show that the loss of RG3 might not be that big a deal. The veteran threw for 351 yards and four touchdowns with Tevin Reece and Terrance Williams each catching two scoring grabs. … Linebacker Bryce Hager had a huge game making 15 tackles with a forced fumble. … Next week will be really, really fun. The nation’s No. 5 passing game and sixth-ranked offense should be able to keep pace with West Virginia.
Last Week: Beat South Dakota 38-7
Notes: Venric Mark might be the nation’s best kept secret. The do-it-all Wildcat playmaker ran 16 times for 117 yards and three scores. .. The NU passers were nearly perfect with three quarterbacks combining to completed 12-of-15 passes for 131 yards. There weren’t any shots taken down the field, mostly because the running game was working so well cranking out 277 yards and five scores. … Punter Brandon Williams had a big day averaging 56.7 yards per kick putting two of his three punts inside the 20. … With Indiana up next, 5-0 is more than possible before going on the road to face the suddenly-hot Penn State and then Minnesota.
Last Week: Beat Arkansas 35-26
Notes: The pass defense went bye-bye, allowing 419 yards and getting torched by Cobi Hamilton for 303 yards and three scores on ten catches, but before the season if you told the Scarlet Knights they’d be 4-0 with road wins over South Florida and Arkansas, they’d think they’d be in for a special year. … The offense ripped apart the Hogs with Gary Nova completing 25-of-35 passes for 397 yards and five scores. … Linebacker Jamal Merell made ten tackles with a half a sack on the way to holding Knile Davis to just 17 yards on ten carries. … With Connecticut, Syracuse, at Temple, Kent State and Army up next, anything less than 9-0 will be a huge disappointment.
Virginia Tech (3-1)
Last Week: Beat Bowling Green 37-0
Notes: This was the answer the Hokies needed after the clunker against Pitt. Bowling Green has a decent passing game and Tech didn’t let it do anything giving up just 133 yards through the air. … It was an easy win because the offensive line answered the challenge after getting shoved around by the Panthers – plowing for 246 yards and three scores this week – but Logan Thomas was awful completing just 11-of-26 passes for 144 yards with two scores and a pick. However, he ran for 65 yards and a score. … Linebacker Bruce Taylor was the defensive star with six tackles and two quarterback hurries. … Next up is Cincinnati to start a run of four road games in the next five before facing Florida State.
Week 4 Top Team Notes & Thoughts